Bhubaneswar: None can beat Nayapalli when it comes to the popularity of puja pandals in Bhubaneswar. People have been in awe of it due to its replicas of popular monuments since the last 31 years.
Nayapalli Durga Puja Committee vice president, Chitrasen Behera, said this year they have re-created Italy’s Piazza Venezia, the central hub of its capital Rome. “That is going to the structure outside. However, as one enters, there will be Mahabharata’s Kuruskhetra war-related paintings giving a feel of the epic that took place thousands of years ago,” he said.
The entire art work is being done by artists from Kolkata. One of them, Tapan Kumar Das, hailing from Digha, said it takes them a maximum of three months. “The designs are decided by us mostly. At times, we combine ideas,” Tapan added.
As many as 60 workers are involved in making the pandal. Meanwhile, 10 artists complete the idol.
The budget this year, Chitrasen said, is Rs 12 lakh that has been collected from donations. Goddess Durga wears a saree brought by the artists and it costs more than Rs 15,000.
“The making of the pandal starts before Ganesh Puja. There is a ‘Khadi puja’ after Vishwakarma puja, after which the artisans start crafting the idols. We then start the Solah puja, about 15 days before Navami,” Chitrasen said.
On Sashti, the eyes of the goddess are made to mark the onset of Durga in the clay idol. “It is so overwhelming to see her eyes and then, so many people coming in. The Durga Puja started flourishing in Bhubaneswar since the last 30 years, after Bengalis established the same,” he added. “In 1998, the Nayapalli pandal was made like the Mysore Palace and it made headlines. All of us have deep emotions attached to the goddess and the puja here,” he said.
He has been associated with the Nayapally Committee since the last 20 years. “When the idol of the goddess goes for immersion, I feel as if a family member is leaving,” he further said.